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The Da Vinci Code at Richmond Theatre | Review

Dan Brown’s bestselling book was never one for giving its secrets away lightly. Indeed, this was, and is, a substantial part of its appeal. The readers have their work cut out, and the pleasure they experience when/if they make it to the end is a little like that of completing a fair but fiendish crossword.

The Da Vinci CodeBringing its convolutions onto the stage was always going to be an ambitious project in its own right, not least because of the massive footprint left by Ron Howard’s 2006 film version starring Tom Hanks as the symbologist Robert Langdon. No wonder Luke Sheppard’s touring production has employed two people for the task of adaptation.
To stick with the puzzle analogy, the challenge here was comparable to that of turning the crossword into a three-dimensional affair. Hence, in this fast-paced version of two hours’ duration, the stage does indeed take on the air of a cube into which all manner of further, unspecified dimensions are clamouring to enter.

As a result, the theatre experience is unexpectedly racier and more breathless than the film. At times this can have the effect of over-compressing what you might call the codeplay of certain sections, even that of the demanding role played by the Fibonacci sequence, in which each number is the sum of the two that precede it, and the so-called Golden Ratio occurs. At the same time such an approach has the benefit of whooshing you through the potentially time-consuming study of Alternative Religious History.

In a storyline which rejoices in presenting the implausible as no such thing, its adapters Duncan Abel and Rachel Wagstaff have pulled off a small miracle of their own in keeping the relationships between the protagonists vital and dynamic. There is a welcome stylistic consistency in their handling of the key episodes, all the way from the murder in the Louvre to the stand-off between Opus Dei and the Priory of Sion over whether Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had a child together.

Christopher Harper is an admirable Robert Langdon, the academic symbolist at the heart of the quest, for the most part cool and collected in the tradition of more conventional sleuths; Hannah Rose Caron, a graduate of both the Juilliard and BRIT drama schools, dynamic as his cryptologist colleague Sophie Neven. In a cast full of ferocious commitment to the story’s other-worldly realism, Joshua Lacey is outstanding, and frankly terrifying, as the fanatical monk Silas.

In a show so explicitly trading in imagery and perception, Andrzej Goulding’s video projections and David Woodhead’s ever-morphing set are key players in the business of keeping you wondering where the whole thing will end. Even if you knew already, or thought you did.

4 stars

Review by Alan Franks

Based on the best-selling novel of this century, with over 100 million copies sold, unlock the secrets of The Da Vinci Code in the world premier stage adaptation of the international phenomenon and uncover the truth in the greatest thriller of the past 2000 years.

The Curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered, and alongside his body are a series of baffling codes. Follow the pulse-racing journey as Professor Robert Langdon, and fellow cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Hannah Rose Canton) attempt to solve the riddles, leading to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and beyond, deep into the vault of history. With guidance from teacher and friend Sir Leigh Teabing, Langdon and Neveu embark on a breathless race through the streets of Europe. The pair must decipher the labyrinthine code before a shocking historical secret is lost forever.

The Da Vinci Code is at Richmond Theatre from Tuesday 3rd May, 2022 to Saturday 7th May, 2022.

Book Tickets for Events at Richmond Theatre

9 – 14 May
New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Box Office: 0844 871 7645

16 – 21 May
Curve Theatre, Leicester
Box Office: 0116 242 3595

23 – 28 May
Norwich Theatre Royal
Box Office: 01603 630 000

6 – 11 June
Shrewsbury Severn Theatre
Box Office: 01743 281281

13 – 18 June
Orchard Theatre, Dartford
Box Office: 01322 220000

20 – 25 June
Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
Box Office: 0844 871 3011

28 June – 2 July
New Theatre, Cardiff
Box Office: 029 2087 8889

4 -9 July
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Box Office: 01604 624811

18 – 23 July
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
Box Office: 01224 641122

25 – 30 July
The Lowry, Salford
Box Office: 0343 208 6000

29 August – 3 September
Milton Keynes Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 7652

12 – 17 September
Malvern Theatre
Box Office: 01684 892277

19 – 24 September
Grand Opera House, Belfast
Box Office: 028 9024 1919

26 September – 1 October
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
Box Office: 01483 440 000

Further dates to be announced

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  • Alan Franks

    Alan Franks is one of the senior reviewers for LondonTheatre1.com, contributing regularly with reviews for London and regional shows, as well as reporting on press launches. Alan Franks was a Times feature writer for more than thirty years, specialising in the arts and interviewing many leading actors, writers and directors, including Arthur Miller, Peter Hall, Woody Allen, Judi Dench and Stephen Sondheim. He is the author of several plays, including The Mother Tongue starring Prunella Scales, and his latest novel, The Notes of Dr. Newgate, is published by Muswell Press. http://www.alanfranks.com

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1 thought on “The Da Vinci Code at Richmond Theatre | Review”

  1. Mr D R Cahill

    I was surprised how good the pase of the performance kept on giving, and how the acting and the stage told you it was a stage and acting, yet seemed as if you really were in the plane/museums and the acting wasn’t acting(in the best of ways) it was a great night out for me, top noch

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